DMGT cools on idea of evening freesheet in London

LONDON - Daily Mail & General Trust, the publisher of the daily freesheet Metro newspaper, is reported to be cooling on the idea of an afternoon giveaway newspaper that could challenge its Evening Standard in London.

According to The Times, DMGT's finance director Peter Williams has said that executives at the company "don't necessarily find [an afternoon freesheet] a massively attractive proposition".

DMGT is among a number of publishers, including Richard Desmond's Northern & Shell and News International, weighing up whether to bid for the right to distribute a free afternoon newspaper in the capital.

Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London, believes that bidders might pay more for the deal than his office gets for the Metro deal. He claims that the Metro pays £1m a year to distribute free copies in the morning.

Williams is also quoted as saying that it would be a "tough process" for any company looking at launching an afternoon paper. He added that DMGT would wait for the Office of Fair Trading's ruling before deciding to compete for the contract.

Williams also ruled out turning the Evening Standard, which has sales of about 345,000, into a free paper in the short to medium term.

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